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Preference Formation and the Rise of Women's Labour Force Participation: Evidence from WWII

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  • Fernández, Raquel
  • Fogli, Alessandra
  • Olivetti, Claudia

Abstract

This Paper presents intergenerational evidence in favour of the hypothesis that a significant factor explaining the increase in female labour force participation over time was the growing presence of men who grew up with a different family model – one in which their mother worked. We use differences in mobilization rates of men across states during WWII as a source of exogenous variation in female labour supply. We show, in particular, that higher WWII male mobilization rates led to a higher fraction of women working not only for the generation directly affected by the war, but also for the next generation. These women were young enough to profit from the changed composition in the pool of men (i.e., from the fact that WWII created more men with mothers who worked). We also show that states in which the ratio of the average fertility of working relative to non-working women is greatest, have higher female labour supply 20 years later.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4493.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4493

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Keywords: cultural transmission; female labour force participation; preferences; world war II;

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References

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  1. Smith, James P & Ward, Michael P, 1985. "Time-Series Growth in the Female Labor Force," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S59-90, January.
  2. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
  3. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2003. "Engines of Liberation," RCER Working Papers 503, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2002. "Women, War and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Mid-Century," NBER Working Papers 9013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Raquel Fernandez & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2002. "Marrying Your Mom: Preference Transmission and Women's Labor and Education Choices," NBER Working Papers 9234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rob Euwals & Marike Knoef & Daniel Vuuren, 2011. "The trend in female labour force participation: what can be expected for the future?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 729-753, May.
  2. Eckstein, Zvi & Lifshitz, Osnat, 2009. "Dynamic Female Labor Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 7548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Culture and Institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Working Papers 292, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Oriana Bandiera & Ashwini Natraj, 2013. "Does Gender Inequality Hinder Development and Economic Growth? Evidence and Policy Implications," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 2-21, February.
  5. Marcela Perticara, 2006. "Women’s Employment Transitions and Fertility," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv172, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  6. David Bravo & Claudia Sanhueza & Sergio Urzua, 2008. "Discriminación en el mercado laboral entre profesionales de Chile. Abogados, Médicos y gente de negocios," Research Department Publications 3249, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. World Bank, 2011. "Work and Family : Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12489, The World Bank.
  8. David Bravo & Claudia Sanhueza & Sergio Urzua, 2008. "Is There Labor Market Discrimination among Professionals in Chile? Lawyers, Doctors and Businesspeople," Research Department Publications 3248, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

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